With a showery start, the sun shone for most of the cruise today with a Rainbow to finish a memorable ending. It was a slow start around Dawlish Warren with DB Brent Geese near the mouth and Turnstones near the old Oyster cages. A good look for the Black-Neck Grebes along the Starcross Straight failed to find them. Greenshank showed near the River Kenn confluence with a few Great Crested Grebe showing off Lympstone. 50+ Pintail were off Exton up towards the Clyst confluence. Grey Plover and a few Widgeon were seen near the Cycle/Railway Bridge along with a nice flock of Shelduck. A nice surprise and a bonus for the visitors was two Spoonbill feeding in the mouth of the Clyst confluence. 20+ Ringed Plover were seen on the right mudbank heading towards Turf Locks with plenty of Curlew in the same area. 300+ DB Brent Geese were seen at close quarters on the bend at Turf Lock with plenty of Dunlin on both mudbanks. As we headed towards Topsham 600+ Golden Plover were roosting on the left mudbank. Good numbers of Common Gulls were seen on the right of the Channel with at least 5 Sanderling in their striking white winter plumage scurrying along the waters edge. Red Breasted Mergansers were seen throughout the estuary with at least 25+ seen. As we approached Topsham Avocets were in abundance with at least 600+ birds throughout this stretch to Topsham Quay. Great views of mixed flocks of Black-Tailed Godwits, Bar-Tailed Godwits and Knot also along this stretch. As we were about to turn the Spotted Redshank was seen were everyone had great views of this long stayer. Great flying displays were had on the home run with Avocets, the mixed flocks of Godwits and Knot, Dunlin, and Golden Plover were probably Spooked by a Bird of Prey but nothing seen. These close aerial displays were spectacular for the visitors so close to the Pride of Exmouth which ended with a dry trip home back to the Marina.
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